Don’t let the name confuse you. The automatic response would be to think that this place is selling itself as glamourous. Classy. Flashy. Glitzy. Prestigious. Glamorous.
But if you’ve read any of the Bret Easton Ellis novels [that includes one called “Glamorama”] you’d realise that the name is a piss-take. Ellis is a social satirist and Glamorama is ridiculing elitism.
You may or may not already know that this bar is the second venture by the group behind Prahran’s Less Than Zero (the title of another Ellis novel). Detecting a pattern here, we should all stay tuned for the third installement, “American Psycho” – just kidding, but wouldn’t that be something!
I stepped in to this venue expecting a revival of the early naughties nightclub culture – pretentious, inaccessible and selective. I’ll admit I expected “the flossy flossy” too, but when it didn’t match up to my expectations, I realised I had to read the book. Then, after all the name-dropping and sarcastic references to celebrities, models, fashion labels, drugs and consumerism, I got the joke.
It’s art, baby.
Glamorama is about as bold and creative a concept as you’ll get. The theme runs through everything from the styling of the venue to the styling of the food. The menu is particularly genius, bravely using clever tastes and textures to mock vanity. Can I recommend a shot of tomato sauce with your next botox session?
Let’s keep in mind that this is Fitzroy, and we’re accustomed to expecting the obscure from Melbourne’s Northside. I mean, Collingwood is just next-door for Christ’s sake; you shouldn’t be able to turn the corner without some street art there to challenge your political or social perspective.
Truth is, I can’t imagine this concept working south side. Firstly, there isn’t a sufficient level of up yours at society. North side simply has the right attitude to properly embrace a place like Glamorama.
Exit Brunswick Street into Glamorama, walk through welcoming forest and admire live greenery, start up stairwell, stopping momentarily to take in bewildering portraits and admire suspended sound system in said stairwell. Enter massive warehouse space. Try not to be perturbed by creepy mannequins staring down at you like you’re the one naked with missing limbs.
Although I did my usual trick of stalking the place during the quietest time, I could tell what this place would be like when it was pumping. Switch off the afternoon light beaming through those huge glass windows and Glamorama would glow red. On a busy Saturday night once dinner service is whisked away, bodies in rhythm on the dance floor would be quite a spectacle as they flash and strobe under the lighting effects.
While I could easily give the impression that nothing gets taken seriously at Glamorama, that wouldn’t be true. There are at least three things that are taken very seriously – the music, the kitchen and the bar.
The industrial feel lends itself perfectly to the notion of being a late night, electronic music venue. So far H.O.S.H., DJ Tennis, Densen Pika, Benny Pearce have graced the Glamorama decks, and the plan is to attract a list of local and international artists and build an enviable event calendar.
The kitchen turns out classical European dishes. Despite their crazy names it’s a higher quality food than you’d expect of late night establishments where Asian, fried chicken and tacos have become the norm.
Meanwhile, the bar displays a notably large selection of premium spirits and as they say in Glamorama: “the better you look the more you see”.
Vote for Pedro
A super fun cocktail served in the Custard & Co bottle. Chilled, fresh granny smith apples balanced with the sweetness of toffee, orange and caramel, while the rum and spices add warmth. This is a melting pot of flavours and sensations.
Mixed with housemade spiced Custard & Co cider reduction, Chairman’s Reserve rum, Pedro Ximenez Sherry & fresh lemon juice.
A Life Less Ordinary
A unique style of sour. Zesty with a sweet finish that tastes like medina cake with lemon icing.
Zubrowka Vodka, housemade spiced apple shrub, Napoleon Mandarine Liqueur, lime, Bittermen celery bitters & egg white
Glamorama’s twist on a Southside. Herbaceous, citrus and sweet but refreshing.
The West Winds Gin, Green Chartreuse, lemon & rosemary.
An easy drinker. Light, fresh, bittersweet, and a little bit of a tart.
Housemade marmalade vodka, lime, Campari dust & a dehydrated citrus wheel
Wed-Thu 5pm to 3am | Fri-Sat 5pm to 5am | Sun 5pm to 3am
393 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
“Out is in. In is out.”
– Bret Easton Ellis, Glamorama